Metrics to Improve Law Firm Marketing Effectiveness


Behind all of the powerful tools now available to law firm marketers is a mountain of data. When this data is combined with readily available accounting system information, curious lawyers have the ability to target marketing more precisely than uninformed competitors.

While not yet a mainstream in law firm management, metrics exist that have been successfully employed outside of the legal industry long enough to be considered reliable. Once adapted to a legal setting, and with some trial and error, these measurements will provide the same analytical benefits to law firms.

We first came across these metrics on HubSpot’s marketing blog (Article Link). They were kind enough to provide a downloadable e-book, which I adapted to a law firm setting. By implementing a few simple tracking systems and supplementing them with commonly existing marketing cost information, firms can measure their marketing effectiveness over periods of time. The additional tracking systems would include:

  • Creating codes for client development expenses in the firm’s time and billing or accounting systems
  • Having non-billable marketing resources keep time
  • Expanding expense report coding options, or implementing a simple expense reporting App to improve data capture

We understand that many small and midsized firms have limited resources for data collection, but if organized properly, much of the work to collect these data may be accomplished during normal workflows.

4 Insightful Metrics


The formulas compute these measurements for a given period are as follows:

Client Acquisition Cost (CAC)

While this is a very broad metric, it does provide an idea of the relationship between marketing spend and new client acquisition over a given period of time. The formula is as follows:

Total new client marketing spend $ ______________________________________________________          = CAC
Total period new clients

To obtain an accurate average CAC, the first challenge will be to identify costs specifically for new client activities, which must be differentiated from existing client maintenance costs.

Time to Payback (TP)

Time to payback may be the simplest and easiest to understand. The formula for calculating time to payback is as follows:  

Client acquisition cost $ ________________________________________________   = TP
Average gross margin $

Average gross margin = Fee collections or billings less timekeeper salaries and benefits.

Marketing Originated Client (MOC) %

New clients resulting from the marketing program ____________________________________________________              = MOC %
Total new clients from all sources  

Marketing Influenced Client (MIC) % =

Total new clients that interacted with marketing ______________________________________________________  = MIC % Total new clients from all sources  

Adapting measurements from industries that have different business models will take some imagination. As firms continue to implement diverse marketing strategies, advanced methods of determining effectiveness will be necessary. Almost every aspect of the legal market is changing, and firms committed to change with it will continue to prosper.